Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day; the first in what seems like a long time. We were very excited about the airshow as it is our first year living in Shoreham. All morning helicopters were flying over our house, the kids were playing under the sprinkler in the garden and we got our gear ready to head to the beach to watch the afternoon plane display. Bodyboards in hands, wetsuits on and suncream at the ready. I bumped into a friend; “theres been a crash, did you hear it?” Then the sirens started. We went to the beach, not knowing much about what had happened but simply that a plane had crashed. We went swimming in the sea, families were everywhere, sheer joy of a perfect Summers day.
We got home and turned on the news. By now with the sirens still going I had a feeling that things were not good. My local Facebook feed started to fill with missing people photos. People searching for their brother, fiance, grandson. My phone was pinging with messages all afternoon, “You all okay?” Schoolmums were messaging on Facebook, “everyone alright?” The horror of what had happened was beginning to sink in. This could have been any one of us travelling along that stretch of road, just over a mile from our house.
I had to go into Shoreham to do some shopping. The streets were packed, but the people were silent. The mood was sombre and there was an air of disbelief that this could have happened right here in our town. The sun was still shining but there were no smiles on peoples faces.
The days since then have been quiet, it has still not really sunk in. On Sunday the Facebook updates got more and more desperate. Those looking for their family, still not finding them, the realisation that perhaps they may not be found. People were posting photo after photo of the crash, video footage, speculation about who had died. The police were urging people not to share these images, people had died, families still did not know about their loved ones and were being subjected to horrendous images of the terrible fireball. Sadly the three people who were missing on my Facebook feed have not been found, I did not know them but they were local to us, part of the community. One lady has not been able to leave her own home due to the media circus camped on her doorstep, they have still not found her partner, surely some space for her would be thoughtful.
This could so easily have been any one of us, driving along on a sunny day not a care in the world. Life is not a rehearsal, so let’s do this.
A fund has been set up for the families of the victims http://campaign.justgiving.com/charity/sussexgiving/shorehamairfund